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How You Can Avoid Boating Accidents in Georgia

August 08, 2020

LAKE LANIER, GEORGIA - An article posted on provides some helpful information about safe boating and an upcoming U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain's License course that helps boaters stay safe and save money on boating insurance. Many groups around Lake Lanier and other large bodies of water offer boating safety courses approved by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR). Boaters are required by law to prove and demonstrate his or her understanding of Georgia's boating laws, navigation procedures, and water rules. At Montlick & Associates, Injury Attorneys, we strive to provide helpful safety resources and community programs to keep Georgia families safe.

Is a Boating License Required in the State of Georgia? 

Yes. In Georgia, any person born on or after January 1, 1998, operating a motor-driven boat is obligated by Georgia boating law to take and pass a DNR-approved boater safety course. The boat operator must always be in possession of a boater education card while aboard a boat under the driver's control. Boaters should additionally keep a copy of the appropriate boater's accident and property insurance card and driver's license. It is best to keep these documents in a waterproof bag and on the boat at all times. It is best to keep these documents in a waterproof bag within a locked storage box on the boat. 

Helpful Boating Safety Tips

  1. Take a boating safety course that is approved and certified by the United States Coast Guard.
  2. Know the Boating "Rules of the Road." 
  3. Take a boating safety course each year as a refresher course and learn new rules and regulations.
  4. After you complete an approved boater safety course, submit the proper documentation to your boating insurance company.
  5. Place any boating safety course documents and booklets in a waterproof bag and keep these papers on your boat with all of your important documents such as your proof of boating insurance, boating safety education card, driver's licenses, and other essential documents. 
  6. Observe the "100-foot law." The "100-foot law" states that boat operators must reduce their boat's speed to "idle speed" once their boat is within 100 feet of people who are in the water, parked boats, shorelines, piers, bridges, beaches, docks, bridges, or any other boat.
  7. Always make sure your boat has a throwable safety flotation device handy. This should be the "o-rind" type of USCG approved floatation device. This must be visible and ready at all times. 
  8. Ensure all passengers on the boat have a life preserver on the boat. 
  9. Ensure all children under the age of 18 comply with Georgia boating laws such as wearing life preservers, sitting while the boat is moving, and other federal and state laws

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Boating "Rules of the Road" for Safe Boat Operation

The following is an approved list of the Georgia boating "rules of the road" for boat operation, which may be found on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website

  • "Any person born on or after January 1, 1998, is required by Georgia law to take a DNR-approved boater education course prior to operating a vessel on state waters. If you were born before that date, you are not required by Georgia law to take the course, but it is highly recommended." 
  • All motorized vessels including but not limited to boats, jet skis, Sea-Doos, and any motorized vessel must follow the "100-foot law."
  • It is illegal to jump the wake of another boat within 100 feet or change or reverse their course of direction in order to ride or jump in the wake of another vessel.
  • Boat operators need to pass other boats on the right side (exactly as your would in a car) unless the two boats have enough distance apart that the two boats are not meeting head on or close to head on.
  • When operating a boat on rivers or streams, you must operate your vessel as far to the right side of the waterway as possible. Be cautious when operating the boat around curves or bends, or passing other vessels.
  • If two boats are in a crossing situation, the boat on the right holds its course, while the boat on the left slows and then crosses paths behind the other boat.
  • Powerboats must yield to sailboats.

An approved boating safety course will typically cover topics such as the Rules of the Road, the meanings of markers on waterways, docking, trailering a boat, boating terminology, boat handling, safety procedures, and safety equipment. Experienced boat operators often find they learn something helpful and new after taking a boater safety course as a refresher course. In a lot of cases, the 8-hours spent on a Saturday, and the $30 course fee can earn some boat owners a discount on their boating insurance. This discount to save the boat owner a lot of money each year in boat insurance premiums. 

The next DNR-approved boating course on Lake Lanier is being offered Saturday, August 22, 2020. Visit for additional information.

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While we hope you are safe and never need our services, our Accident Lawyers are here to help you if you are involved in any type of accident or just have a question.  Call Montlick & Associates, Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today. Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over 36 years and our attorneys have recovered billions of dollars in compensation for personal injury claims and collision lawsuit settlements for our clients. We Know What It Takes To Win!

If you are having trouble obtaining compensation for medical bills, lost wages, rental car reimbursement, and other accident-related costs from the at-fault drivers insurance company adjuster, call to learn about your rights. 

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Category: Personal Injury

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